Chinese authorities in Tibet have adopted a host of policies aimed at promoting ethnic intermarriage between Tibetans and Han Chinese. According to the Washington Post:
Urging officials to push mixed marriages harder, China’s highest official in the Tibetan region, Chen Quanguo, recently staged a photo op with 19 mixed families.“As the saying goes, ‘blood is thicker than water,’ we should make our ethnic relationship like that,” Chen said at the meeting in June, according to the state-run Tibetan Daily. The government must “actively promote intermarriages.” […]Government policy requires mixed couples to choose early on what ethnicity to designate their children in official documents. Many choose to name their children as Han rather than Tibetan, believing that it gives their children a chance at a better life, said a 28-year-old Tibetan woman who works at a local government department.
Tibetan activists who oppose China’s now 63-year-old rule say that the intermarriage policies are aimed at subverting a distinct Tibetan culture.Tibetans are not the only minority that China has tried to subdue by similar means. China has a history of using a mixture of both harsh repression and preferential treatment against the many small ethnic groups in China that make up the roughly 8 percent of the population that is not Han Chinese. The Post describes what that preferential treatment entails:
When one or both spouses are of ethnic minority, a couple can generally have up to three children, despite China’s one-child policy. Ethnic students are given extra scores for their minority status in college entrance exams. Intermarried families are also often awarded honors for being “models of ethnic unity” and are sometimes favored for government positions.
At the same time, in Tibet and elsewhere, Beijing keeps a firm grip on Chinese minorities. In Xinjiang, the only other Chinese province that is not majority Han, Beijing is taking increasingly strong measures to control the Muslim Uighurs, including dismantling the internet and banning Ramadan. The crackdown on ethnic minorities and Christians alike is a sign, as Peter Berger has argued, that the robust economic growth China has enjoyed for decades now may be waning—and the leadership in Beijing knows it and is battening down the hatches.